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Some $12-million in the hole, the Tulsa School Board will consider shutting down three elementary schools. The students would be transferred to what is now the Clinton Middle School. The Clinton students would be shifted to Webster High School. Webster, in turn, would become a combined Junior and Senior High.

The schools are all low enrollment schools on Tulsa's west side. The budget shortfall is brought on by cuts in state funding. 

Heritage Law

A mild winter and wet spring in Oklahoma this year means a higher population of ticks and the sometimes deadly illnesses they can carry.

The  Oklahoma State Department of Health has issued a warning alerting Oklahomans to the high number of ticks and risk of disease.

Oklahoma ranks among the states with the highest rates of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and tularemia, and May through August are the months when ticks are most active.

State of Oklahoma

A stalemate in the Oklahoma Legislature over how to fill an $878 million hole in next year's state budget and Gov. Mary Fallin's vow to veto any spending plan that includes dramatic cuts to vital public services is making the possibility of a special budget-writing legislative session more likely.

KWGS News

Couple arrested in connection with Oklahoma infant's death

Police in Tulsa have arrested a man and a woman on felony warrants in connection with the death of a five-month-old Rogers County infant early this year.

28-year-old Raymond Vickers and 28-year-old Cheyenna Bates were arrested on Friday night.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

An Oklahoma prison inmate has been charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of his cellmate.

The Oklahoman reports that 40-year-old Rodney Harty was charged on Wednesday in Cleveland County District Court in the January death of 44-year-old Erick Shane Kitchell. Online court records don't indicate whether Harty is represented by an attorney.

KWGS News Photo

No injuries were reported after a small aircraft made an emergency landing on a highway in eastern Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the aircraft landed on a small stretch of U.S. Highway 64 near Muskogee at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses say the Piper PA-28-140 came over some trees and nosed down on the highway, coming to rest just off the highway.

Lt. Kera Philippi says two people on board the aircraft were not injured. They were not immediately identified.

Ponca Tribe

The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska has renamed the state's Homestead Trail to Chief Standing Bear Trail after gaining ownership of the sliver of land the tribe refers to as the "Ponca Trail of Tears."

Nearly 200 people were present Thursday for the deed signing to the nearly 20-mile trail stretching from Beatrice to Barneston. The celebration consisted of a drum circle, traditional dancers and victory songs.

In 1877, U.S. soldiers forced over 700 Ponca members to march nearly 280 miles from their homeland along the Niobrara River to a reservation in Oklahoma.

KWGS News File photo

A man convicted of kidnapping and killing a Tulsa postal worker in 1983 is now in an Oklahoma jail after serving time in a federal prison.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons says Bobby Eugene Moffitt was released from custody on May 10 and was then booked into the Tulsa County Jail.

The 57-year-old was convicted of kidnapping and killing Charles Stone in 1983.

Moffitt pleaded guilty to robbery with a firearm and first-degree murder in 1986. He was sentenced to 15 years on the robbery charge and life in prison on the murder charge.

KWGS File photo

An Oklahoma Senate budget committee has killed legislation that would authorize a major expansion of tribal gambling in Oklahoma to help fill a projected $878 million hole in next year's state budget.

Members of the Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget voted 22 to 16 Friday against the measure.

The measure was unveiled Monday by Republican legislative leaders as part of a package to raise about $400 million in revenue to balance the state's budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs

A new autopsy report from the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office confirms that a man who was a patient at a state-run veterans' home died after choking on a two-foot plastic trash bag.

70-year-old Leonard Smith was a dementia patient living in a special-needs unit at the Oklahoma Veterans Center in Talihina.

On Jan. 31, Smith choked to death after being given food, fluids and medication. A medical provider later found that Smith had a plastic bag lodged deep in his throat.

NWS-Tulsa

Forecasters say a tornado that hit near Owasso on Thursday had a preliminary ranking of EF1 with wind speeds of 90 mph to 100 mph.

The National Weather Service in Tulsa says more surveys are underway  to determine whether any other twisters struck the state a day earlier.

Trees were downed and some homes sustained roof damage in Owasso, where the EF1 tornado hit. Storm spotters also reported tornadoes in Perkins and Ramona in Oklahoma and near Oologah..

File photo

An Oklahoma police sergeant testified he felt "disrespected" by the way a prosecutor announced a manslaughter charge against a white Oklahoma officer who killed an unarmed black man.

Sgt. Dave Walker testified Friday during the manslaughter trial of Tulsa Officer Betty Jo Shelby, who fatally shot 40-year-old Terrence Crutcher in September.

File photo

The full Oklahoma Senate signed off on a plan Friday to give the State Board of Education $60 million from the Rainy Day Fund.

Sen. Kay Floyd asked Sen. Kim David whether there’s a problem with that plan.

"Do we have $60 million in the Rainy Day Fund right now?" Floyd said.

"By the time that this appropriation is made, the money will be in the Rainy Day Fund," David said.

"Do we know how much is in the Rainy Day Fund right now?" Floyd said.

File photo

With tensions over the budget increasing at the capitol, Oklahoma lawmakers will take up a new proposal to cap itemized deductions.

Like House Bill 2347, House Bill 2403 caps them at $17,000. HB2403, however, exempts charitable contributions.

"So, if a blessed individual donates $100,000 to a charity, they will be able to get the full amount of that deduction on their state return," said Oklahoma Tax Commission Director Tony Mastin.

KWGS News

 

The supervisor of a white Oklahoma police officer who shot an unarmed black man told her to say nothing about the incident because he knew the shooting would be racially explosive.

Tulsa police Cpl. Wyett Poth testified Thursday about his directions to Officer Betty Jo Shelby after the shooting of Terence Crutcher. He said he walked up to Shelby at the shooting scene to make sure she knew she had the right to say nothing.

The testimony came in the second day of Shelby's manslaughter trial for the Sept. 16 shooting.

 

Internet retailer Amazon has confirmed that it's building a sorting center in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoman reports that work is underway on the $3 million, 300,000-square-foot facility.

Amazon spokeswoman Ashley Robinson says customers in Oklahoma should notice improved delivery times once the center opens. She says the company hopes to have the center open before the holiday season.

The company has not yet started hiring employees to operate the center.

In the local news:

  • A tornado with 100 mph winds causes damage at Owasso.
  • More testimony in the Officer Betty Shelby manslaughter trial.
  • There will be delays in reopening Riverside Drive at The Gathering Place.

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A police chief and an officer in an eastern Oklahoma town have resigned, citing pushback they say they faced after the recent arrest of a city councilor's son.

Vian Officer Lindsey Green and Police Chief Ted Johnson resigned this week.

Johnson says he and Green weren't told they'd be fired, but he feared they might be for going against the council "like I did."

Green arrested Joshua Smith on May 2 for driving without a license after confirming his license had been revoked. Smith was released 45 minutes later.

 

A police chief and an officer in an eastern Oklahoma town have resigned, citing pushback they say they faced after the recent arrest of a city councilor's son.

Vian Officer Lindsey Green and Police Chief Ted Johnson resigned this week.

Johnson says he and Green weren't told they'd be fired, but he feared they might be for going against the council "like I did."

Green arrested Joshua Smith on May 2 for driving without a license after confirming his license had been revoked. Smith was released 45 minutes later.

KWGS News

   

Strong storms spawned one tornado, and possibly two in Oklahoma, and threaten parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. The storms stretched from northeast Texas through the mid-Atlantic states to the North Carolina coast.

The National Weather Service said a tornado touched down in the Tulsa suburb of Owasso Thursday and a possible tornado struck near Perkins, about 45 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

Damage was reported to roofs and trees, but there are no reports of injuries.

Tornado Damage Near Owasso

May 11, 2017
KWGS News

A tornado touches down near Owasso on Thursday afternoon. The twister hit near 106th Street North and 161st East Avenue in Rogers County.

The tornado knocked out power, uprooted trees, ripped shingles from roofs, destroyed out buildings and tossed recreational vehicles. A two-by-four was hurled into to the facade of Bob McKee's home. He says the storm hit so fast that his wife had no time to get into the family's storm shelter. She instead took cover in a closet.

Oklahoma Watch

A revenue bill passed Thursday by the Oklahoma House could make some corporations pay a tax twice within 10 months.

House Bill 2356 makes the franchise tax due May 1 instead of July 1 starting next year for any entity that paid the maximum amount the year before.

It will boost revenue $12 million next year, but Rep. Shane Stone said he’s against the measure.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Weather impacts going back to last year have piled up enough to delay the opening of A Gathering Place for Tulsa and the reopening of Riverside Drive, which has been closed during construction of the park.

Gathering Place Director Jeff Stava said they’re now looking at late spring to summer 2018 rather than late this year.

Severe Weather Likely Across Green Country

May 11, 2017
KWGS News

 

Here is your one stop location for information you need concerning our severe weather threat in Green Country.

KWGS News

 

Six witnesses have testified that an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white Oklahoma police officer didn't say or do anything indicating he posed a threat to officers at the scene.

A police officer who was inside a police helicopter hovering overhead last September described 40-year-old Terence Crutcher as looking "like a bad dude" who "could be on something." Moments later, Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby shot Crutcher.

KWGS File photo

 

Police continue to look for evidence in the death of a Colorado woman whose partial remains were found in Okmulgee in February.

Police in Boulder, Colorado said Wednesday that they plan to search an out-of-state landfill for evidence related to the killing of 25-year-old Ashley Mead. They won't say where the landfill is located.

Mead was reported missing in Boulder in February along with her 1-year-old daughter. The girl was found with her father, Adam Densmore, near Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Densmore is charged with killing her. He has not entered a plea yet.

Yet Another Tulsa Homicde. The 28th of the Year

May 11, 2017
KWGS News File Photo

Tulsa Police are looking for clues in what is believed to be Tulsa's 28th homicide of this year. A man was found dead about 5:15 this morning in a neighborhood near 61st and South Rockford. The body was discovered by  newspaper carrier.

Police, on the scene, say it appears the man had been shot. Police are asking anyone in the area with surveillance cameras to please review any footage for suspicious activity in the area.

Rain Slows Riverside Drive Reopening

May 11, 2017
The Gathering Place for Tulsa

A Gathering Place for Tulsa and the City of Tulsa announced the coordinated opening of Riverside Drive and the park in late spring/summer 2018.  In the meantime, the Chapman Foundations Adventure Playground will open in January 2018 with scheduled visits from Tulsa area elementary school children.  
 

KWGS News File Photo

An attorney who specializes in workers' compensation cases is challenging Gov. Mary Fallin's appointment of an assistant attorney general to the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission.

Attorney Bob Burke asked the state Supreme Court on Wednesday to block the appointment of Megan Tilly to a seat on the three-member commission. Burke alleges Tilly doesn't have the three years' experience in workers' compensation that state law requires of commission members.

KWGS News File Photo

Federal charges have been filed against the former accountant for the Oklahoma Beef Council who is accused of stealing more than $2.6 million from nonprofit group over a seven-year period. The Oklahoman reports that 45-year-old Melissa Day Morton of Edmond was charged Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City. She is charged with one count of bank fraud and two counts of filing false tax returns.

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